Invaders from Mars (1953)
Director: William Cameron Menzies
Writer: Richard Blake
Starring: Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Jimmy Hunt
How I Watched It: Amazon Rental
Review By: Griff
So over the holidays I decided to treat myself to a copy of one of my all time favorite sci-fi movies on Blu Ray, Forbidden Planet. On the disk there was a documentary that originally aired on TCM called Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950’s and Us. During the documentary that raved about a movie that I had never seen called Invaders from Mars. It looked pretty interesting and had some really cool looking classic 1950’s era sci-fi styling so I had to give it a shot. I hunted around and found it on Amazon so I bought it.
The movie starts out pretty strong. A young boy named David awakes to witness what he thinks is a spaceship crash landing in a field behind his house. He rouses his dad and tells him what he saw. His father decides to go out and investigate but he doesn’t return. Early in the morning David’s mother becomes worried and she phones the police. They come out to investigate but they disappear into the field as well. Eventually dad returns but he is acting very peculiar. Where once he had a calm demeanor he is now irritable and snaps at David and his mom. David notices a strange scar on the back of his dad’s neck and realizes that he has been taken over by invaders from Mars!
Before long the police return from the field as well and they also seemed to have changed. David panics and runs away. He ends up at a police station where he tries to convince the chief that we are being taken over by invaders from Mars!
Of course no one believes David so they call in a shrink to come and talk to him. Somehow David is able to convince the shrink that he is telling the truth and she contacts a local astronomer. Together they convince the military that the threat is real and they go out to do battle with the invaders from Mars!
Once the movie reaches the point where they discover the aliens the movie goes straight down hill. The acting gets substantially worse. It looks like some of the actors are reading straight from the cue cards during some scenes. The plot really flounders as well and the movie turns from an interesting little bit of psychological drama about the people we trust (parents, police, doctors…) being the villains and turns into a standard formulaic action movie. To make matters worse, the aliens are laughable at best. Zippers are visible on the back of the costumes and they run around like they are doing a chase scene from a muppet movie.
It all leads up to a completely unnecessary ending that will leave you scratching your head and asking why. I really wanted to love this movie but it was just plain bad and not in a so bad its good kind of way. Invaders from Mars only gets 1 and 1/2 guy from me.
The full movie is available on youtube so I am posting the trailer and the full movie below if you want to check it out.